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Our History

Perfectly situated in Woodstock, NY, couple Jenny Brown and Doug Abel began the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary in late 2004 with a small group of rescued chickens from a factory farm, and a rooster who had been dumped in a NYC schoolyard. Their wedding in October of 2004, the first fundraiser for the sanctuary, took place on what is now the new pasture and barn for rescued goats and sheep.

Starting with an empty, unfenced hay field, in a few short years we grew faster than we ever imagined.  We’ve raised funds to build two large barns, two sheds for the cattle, five chicken coops, a duck/goose shed and pond, a modest animal hospital/treatment room and visitor center–and almost a mile of fencing. This has allowed us to rescue hundreds of animals who either stay here for life or are adopted out to loving homes that meet our strict criteria.

The shelter regularly takes in, or works to place, other farm animals that are victims of cruelty and neglect. Most of these animals are rescued during investigations of farms, stockyards, auctions, and slaughterhouses; others arrive from humane societies and SPCA cruelty cases. A surprising number of our rescued animals come from the streets of New York City. For the first time in their lives, these animals that have only known fear, isolation and pain now enjoy warm and clean barns, nourishing food, veterinary care and love.

Apart from our visitor hours on the weekends, we host regional school groups on field trips and other large groups. These days, children seldom have the opportunity to see these animals up close because the small family farm is largely a thing of the past. Few organizations exist that provide shelter and care to farm animals as opposed to the many that exist that focus on companion animals. Seeing these animals in the environment that they were meant to be in is a rare and rich experience. Visitors walk away having learned that these animals are not unlike the animals we call pets—they each have unique personalities and can be as affectionate and loyal as a dog or cat.

>>Meet the Founders